Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farbenmix Pitt Sew-a-long! (Tutorial)

I really really love these pants but sadly the instructions are only in German and the photo tutorial on the Farbenmix site is not too hot - even if you use google translate! I decided to make a sew-a-long so that anyone English out there has a much better chance at succeeding with these pants. I'm going to include all the little tips and tricks I have learned about how to make awesome pants for your little one:)

There are quite a few steps so stick with me, you'll be glad you did when you get to the end!

So here goes....

Picking a size:

First of all you need to decide on a size. I like to compare the actually pattern pieces to a pair of RTW pants (or possibly another pattern that you have) just to make sure you get the right sizing. I find the Pitt pattern to be slightly baggy (a look I love!), keep this in mind. You won't need to a zipper fly unless your little one is a little on the fluffy side. This tutorial does not use a zipper fly, I will do that another day.

You can always adjust the length of the inseam by adding to the pattern.


1 1/2" elastic, 1" less then the exact waist of your child
kid's glue stick (for holding seams down)
Fabric for your pants (possibly more than one type if you want a mixed look)
Fabric for lining the pockets
twill tape, embroidery,...embellishments... (optional)
Sewing machine
coordinating thread
serger (optional)
scissors, needles, ....


Here are the English translations for the different pattern pieces:

Some are direct translations, some are what I think they should be called.

1) pants front, top - cut two of pants fabric
2) pants front, center (knee patches) - cut two of pants fabric
3) pants front, bottom- cut two of pants fabric
4) pants back, side pieces- cut two of pants fabric
5) pants back, top- cut two of pants fabric
6) pants back, bottom- cut two of pants fabric
7) back of front pocket- cut two of pants fabric
8) front pocket facing- cut two of lining
9) back pocket  - cut two of pants fabric, two of lining
10) side pocket (ruler pocket) - cut one of pants fabric
11) belt loop - DO NOT ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE - cut 5 of pants fabric or cut one 20"x 2" strip and cut into five after sewn
12) Fly sheild (not necessary for a faux fly) - cut one of pants fabric
13) waistband - cut one on the fold of pants fabric (if you are adding a real fly you will have to extend this piece for the overlap at the button)

Next you need to trace off your pattern onto something. I like to use 4 mil or 6 mil plastic painting tarp from Home Depot. You can get it in the paint department. It is thick and durable and you can easily see through it. I used sharpies to trace the lines and large nuts (also from HD) to hold it all down.

You are also going to want to label each pattern piece and right on it where the top and bottom or center front/center back is on it so you don't get confused. Transfer all markings to the pattern pieces as well. Make sure when you transfer the markings for the knee patches that you make a right and left patch with darts that mirror each other.

Adding a seam allowance:

This pattern does not include a seam allowance. You can add a seam allowance to straight seams with a clear ruler and for curved seams you can mark off 1/2" (or whatever your sa is) every 1" (or so) on the curve and then connect the dots afterwards. You will need to have your dots closer together the more tight the curve.

I really like using a 1/2" seam allowance, you'll want to add something more that 1/4" because when we do our double top-stitiching you'll want to catch the seam with the second row of stitches and you won't be able to do that if you only have 1/4" to work with.

I only added 1/4" seam allowance to the top of the pants (both the front and back pieces and the waistband since I don't need all that bulk in the waistband and there is no double top-stitching there. I also added only 1/4" sa to the back pockets because the seam is hidden (they are turned and top-stitched) and I would only have to cut off the sa when triming the raw edges for turning. (If this is confusing just add 1/2" to everything and trim later!) I also added only 1/4" sa to the bottom of the ruler pocket. The hem allowance at the top of the ruler pocket is already included in the pattern.

Don't add a seam allowance to the belt loop piece.

Cutting the fabric:

Choose which fabric you will be using for the different pattern pieces and make sure the fabric is pre-washed and ironed. You need at least two of most pieces so fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and arrange the pattern pieces so they take up the least amount of fabric. Hold the pattern pieces down with the nuts from before and then trace around with a fabric marker. Remove the plastic pattern pieces and cut out your fabric pattern pieces. Transfer all markings to each pattern piece. The darts on the knee patches and the faux fly markings will need to go on the wrong side of the fabric and the pocket markings will need to go on the right side of the fabric.

Add embelishments:

If you are going to add any embroidery or ribbons/twill tape add it now. It is easier to add when nothing is sewn together because there is less bulk to deal with and all the edges of the embelishments will get sewn down nicely when you sew everything together.

I added embroidery just below the front pockets and on the back pocket. I also added twill tape to the bottom leg. You can do anything and everything! Don't hesitate to mix and match colors, textures and prints. I find the more you do the more awesome it looks!

Preparing to sew:

You'll want to pick a thread color for top-stitching and a thread color for serging so that you don't have to switch your threads around all the time. I usually pick the serger thread to match the pants fabric and the top-stitching to contrast the pants fabric and match some of the embroidery. If you really want the top-stitching thread to stand out run two threads of the same color through the machine (or use top-stitching thread). I usually match the bobbin thread to the top-stitching thread. If you are not using a serger then you will just be finishing the raw edges with your sewing machine and this will already be threaded with the top-stitching color:)

Sewing instructions:

1) Place pants front, top (#1) and and front pocket facing (#8) right sides together and sew the top and diagonal seams. Trim down to 1/4" and grade seams. (Grading means cutting the lining fabric 1/8" shorter then the pants fabric all along the seam allowance so that when you turn right side out the lining curves under the pants fabric and you don't see the lining.)

 2) Turn the pocket facing to the wrong side, poke out the corner with a blunt pencil and press. Top-stitch the diagonal seam stopping at the corner. Topstitch again using your presser foot as a guide.

Note: You want to stop at the corner because you'll want to sew the top horizontal part to the back of front pocket (#7) in the following steps. You want to finish your top-stitching so that when you sew the horizontal seam the sewing lines meet up and it looks like one continuous seam. Don't forget to back tack to secure your seams.

 3) Pin the back of front pocket (#7) piece to the pocket facing, right sides together. Stitch the bottom portion of the pocket and finish the seam.
 4) Sew the horizontal seam you ignored in step #2, thereby securing the back of front pocket (#7) to the pants front, top (#1) piece. Line up your stitching so that it meets the original stitching and looks like one continuous seam. Remember to back tack.

At the sides of the pants, baste 1/8" from the raw edges to secure the pocket and pants pieces together.

You will want to add a bar tack (see the faux fly section for info on that) where the two seams meet. This will strengthen the pocket opening for when your little one puts his or her hands in and out. I'm not going to do this because I'm going to use rivets which I will add at the end.

5) Now put those pieces aside and pick up the pants front, center (knee patches) (#2). Pin the darts so that the right sides of the fabric are touching. Put your pin through one line of the dart marking and make sure that it goes through to the line on the other side to ensure the darts are lined up properly. When you sew the dart always start at the raw edge and slowly sew towards the point. Sew off the end of the point and leave a long tail of thread. Tie the tails in a knot and cut the threads to 1/4". Do not back tack at the end of the dart or you will get little pointy things on the finished pants and this won't look good! (Trust me!)

Again, before you sew the darts make sure that you have right and left knee patches with darts that mirror each other.

 6) Iron the darts so that the side with the two darts have the darts pointing up and down and the side with the one dart has the dart pointing down. (Really the directions don't matter but this is what I did.)

Top-stitch the darts down, sewing from the raw edges to the point, back tack at the point. Just do one line of top-stitching.
 7) Pin the pants front, top (#1) to the top of the knee patches and the pants front, bottom (#3) to the bottom of the knee patches, right sides together. You are going to pin on the side of the pants (not the knee patches) curving the pants piece around the curve of the knee patches. Use lots of pins and make sure it is smooth so you don't get any unwanted pleats on the front of the pants. Sew these seams and finish the edges. Sew on the pants side of the seam.

 8) Iron the seams towards the knee patches and double top-stitch the seams down.

 9) Take the two front pants pieces and place them right sides together, sew along the fly seam as marked on the pattern pieces and finish the raw edges of the fly.
 10) Fold the fly piece to the left side (taken when the pants are worn) and iron it down. Using a fabric marker and a ruler, mark the straight portion of the line and then estimate the curved portion. Sew along the line you just drew and then sew another line inside of that to double top-stitch the fly seam to create the faux fly.
 11) Put bar tacks on the fly. These are not really functional and purely aesthetic but they make the pants look more professional. Mark where you want the bar tacks with a fabric marker. Change the settings on your machine to have a narrow, close together zig zag (test it out on scrap first) and then sew the bar tacks.
 12) Now on to the side pocket. Finish the top diagonal edge of the side pocket (ruler pocket) (#10). Fold down the hem allowance and use some kid's glue stick to hold it down. Press with an iron.

 13) Double top-stitch the hem allowance down or use some twill tape to accomplish the same thing.
 14) Fold up the bottom of the ruler pocket by 1/4", glue stick and iron.
 15) Following the pattern markings, place the ruler pocket on one of the pants back, side pieces (#4). Line up the tall end of the pocket with the outside edge of the side pants piece. Double top-stitch the bottom of the pocket and then baste the side edges of the pocket 1/8" from the raw edge of the pants to hold it in place.
 15) Pin pants back, top (#5) to the pants back, side (#4) pieces. Pin and sew on top of the side pieces and work around the curve as you did with the knee patches. Finish edges.
 16) Iron the seam allowance towards the pants back, top pieces (#5) and double top-stitch.
 17) Pin and then sew the pants back, bottom (#6) to the back piece from step 16. Finish the raw edges.

 17) Press the seam allowance upwards and double top-stitch.
 18) Now for the back pockets. Take back pockets (#9) and place the pieces cut from the pants material and the pieces cut from lining right sides together, matching the shape. Sew all the way around leaving a space for turning at the bottom. Grade the seams as you did with the front pockets.
 19) Turn the pockets right side out and push out the corners with a dull pencil. Press.
 20) Double top-stitch between pattern markings on the sides of the pockets. This will be where the pocket opening will be. This step is similar to the front pockets.

 21) Place the pockets on the back pants pieces according to the pattern marking. Use your glue stick and iron to hold it down. Top-stitch all the way around, thereby closing the bottom turning hole and matching up your stitching with the stitching from step 20. Sew bar tacks where the stitching from step 21 meets the stitching from step 20 to make the pocket more durable. (Again, I am not doing bar tacks because I will be using rivets).
 22) Now to put the pants together. Pin and sew the front pants to the back pants along the outside seams. Finish the seams.
 23) Fold the seam allowance towards the back, press and double top-stitch.
 24) With right sides together, pin and sew the back crotch seam. Finish the raw edge.
 25) With right sides together line up the inseam, pin, sew and finish the raw edge.
 26) Measure a piece of 1 1/2" wide elastic to 1" less than your child's exact waist size. Butt the ends together and do a wide zig zag up and down the raw edges, bringing them together and securing them. This makes a smooth join with no bumps.
 27) With the waistband right sides together sew the short ends together. Press the seam open.

With your glue stick fold and secure one of the raw edges down all the way around. (Don't skip this, it makes it easier to sew the waistband down in the end).
 28) Pin the waistband with the right side of the waistband facing the wrong side of the pants. Line up the raw edge (not the folded one) of the waistband with the raw edge of the pants. Sew all the way around (you don't need to finish this seam because it will be concealed.)
 30) Iron the waistband up.
 31) Place the elastic around the waistband, fold the waistband down over the elastic so that the folded edge from step 27 meets the front of the pants. Pin the folded edge just below the sewn seam from step 30. Stretch the elastic to adjust so that you can pin the waistband down all the way around. Use lots of pins.
 32) Turn the pants inside out and sew on the inside of the pants. Sew along the folded edge, as close to the edge as possible. Thereby concealing the elastic and pants/waistband seam allowance inside the waistband. Try not to sew on the elastic. You are trying to create a casing.

 33) I like to sew an additional seam down the middle, tacking the elastic down. This step is optional.
 34) To hem the pants fold up 1/4", tack down with glue stick and ironing, then fold up another 1" and tack it down with glue stick and ironing.

Sew the hem from the right side of the pants. Sew on the inside of the cuff as you did with the waistband.

35) Now for the belt loops. The pattern has you cutting out each belt loop separately - you can do this if you want but it is much faster to cut one long strip, sew it together and then cut it into the proper length pieces. So cut one long strip that is 20" x 2", finish one long raw edge.

I only had scraps to work with so I had to do a bit of both!
 36) Fold the unfinished edge into the middle, glue stick it down, fold the finished edge on top of that so that you are folding the piece in three. Glue stick it down. Make sure that the finished edge is almost at the folded edge but not going past it. You shouldn't see it when you look at the right side of the belt loop.
 37) Sew two rows of top-stitching, thereby tacking down the finished edge on the backside of the belt loop.

Cut into 5 equal pieces (4 inches each).

If you choose to do the belt loops individually you just do the same but for each piece individually.
 38) Pin each belt loop with raw edges tucked under onto the waistband.

You will want to have one belt loop right on the middle back seam, two belt loops 1" to the outside of the bar tack on the front pockets and two belt loops on the back 1 1/2" from the side seams. These are just estimate measurements, I was making the size 98/104 so if you are making a different size you might need something different.

 39) To sew the top and bottom of the belt loop do a bar tack. You might have to make the stitch length a bit longer so the machine can push through the thick layers of fabric. Make sure that the bar tack does not run off the side of the belt loop.

Congrats! You are done! Enjoy your Farbenmix Pitt pants!!


Natalie said...

Wonderful tutorial! Thanks for all your hard work. I am bookmarking this page. :)

Janna said...

Great tutorial, bookmarked for later! Desperately searching for this pattern, but can only find it from the company. Do you know of a US supplier?

Green Mommy said...

Thanks! I think you can sometimes get it from coops that are run through the US. You often have to wait a while though...

Ordering from the company (Farbenmix) is not that bad. I have heard that the shipping is very fast and that the customer service is great!

I hope you can find it soon!

Heather said...

Hi! Thanks so much for this! I appreciate your hard work, beautiful pants, love the tan corduroy. xx

Green Mommy said...

Your welcome! :)

Crafty Mama said...

What a fantastic tutorial, and your Pitt pants look awesome! :)

Crafty Mama said...

ps: I stock PITT in my store in Australia.

Green Mommy said...

LOL! Thanks! I hope to post a bunch of Farbenmix tutorials, more to come as the summer approaches...